June 18, 2015 — France has joined a growing list of countries that have banned sales of Monsanto’s weed-killer Roundup over concerns about cancer.
Reuters reported that the move is part of a wider crackdown on pesticides, with a full ban on sales of weed-killing chemicals to home gardeners expected to be in effect by 2022. French Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal said:
“France must be on the offensive with regards to the banning of pesticides. I have asked garden centers to stop putting Monsanto’s Roundup on sale.”
The active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, was recently declared a “probable human carcinogen” by the World Health Organization (WHO) based on a review of several studies linking it to non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other diseases.
Monsanto has aggressively defended the safety of glyphosate. According to a statement issued by the company’s chief technology officer, Robert Fraley, “this result was reached by selective ‘cherry picking’ of data and is a clear example of agenda-driven bias.”
Despite reassurances, many countries have decided to ban Roundup. Just last month, Columbian officials said they would stop using it to spray illegal coca fields. Last year, Sri Lanka banned glyphosate after it was linked to an epidemic of kidney disease in rice paddy farming areas with hard water. Some studies have also suggested that glyphosate can negatively impact pollinator insect populations, including honeybees and monarch butterflies.
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